Hope for Kipingi Village-Charity spotlight

In my career as I flight attendant I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some amazing people.  I’ve met plenty of rockstars, celebrities and even politicians.  However, none of these people have impressed me more then the actual group of flight attendants I share the arguably friendly  skies with.  What most people don’t know is that many flight attendants are not just flight attendants.  There are plenty of lawyers, nurses and many humanitarians (amongst many other interesting careers) that have donned the uniform and wings. We are a very diverse bunch.

One of my favorite flight attendants to fly with is Michelle Campbell.  Michelle is famous at LAX for her outgoing personality and giving nature.  She is the type of person that lights up a room just by walking in it.  Her happy energy is contagious, but it’s not just her demeanor that makes her so special.

For many years Michelle has been involved in numerous charities and worked relentlessly to make the world a better place for children.  I’ve been privileged enough to know her for years and I’ve always admired the work she does.  I remember when we first met, listening to her talk about her work with such a passion that it demands your total attention and engagement.

She has always referred to the children she helps as “my kids” and she feels it’s her life purpose to give a voice to those children that don’t have one.  You see, Michelle knows a little bit about being a child without a voice and having no one to care for you.  She herself was a foster child for the first 3 years of her life and was passed between 4 different homes before she was adopted by her wonderful family.  The daughter of an avid traveler and special-ed teacher, it’s from her family that Michelle say’s she learned her sense of adventure (Dad) and compassion (Mom).

The Campbell household must have been a great place to grow up because it turns out that Michelle isn’t the only one in that family that has dedicated her life to helping others.  Michelle’s sister Genelle is the VP of the nonprofit group Dignity U Wear.  They provide clothing to families in need.  I guess altruism is a Campbell family trait.  So it’s really not surprising that Michelle would find a way to do good.

Throughout her career Michelle has used her travel benefits to do charity work all over the world.  She has traveled to many different countries such as; Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mexico, Haiti & Kenya and has worked with many different charities such as the Airline Ambassadors & Starlight foundation, but it’s her work at Project Humanity that led her to her biggest and most life altering mission.  Michelle joined the staff at Project Humanity as their Coordinator of the Bright Idea Campaign.  According to their website Project Humanity is an organization that, “Operates under the philosophy that action speaks louder than words, the organization employs a “micro-project” strategy whereby it identifies specific projects that can be completed in a very short period of time and then recruits skilled volunteers to complete the projects.”

While working on a project in Kenya, Michelle was taken to Kipingi village where she describes what she saw as “the most desperate and depressing situation in my life.  The kids were completely dead behind their eyes.  They were malnourished, had bloated bellies, torn clothing, no shoes, and most of them were suffering from worms and many other illnesses. The kids were so sad.”

Unprepared for the horrible state of Kipingi all Michelle could give at the time were soccer balls. She felt horrible and vowed that something had to be done for this poor, desperate community. Michelle has always had a special place in her heart for the people of Kenya.  It has been a life long dream of hers to help this country.  Kipingi is her calling and she left there vowing to return.   Michelle has been performing charitable acts for most of her life and has worked her way up to this latest and probably most challenging endeavor. She has decided to build a school there.

She says, “I want to give these kids a chance, give them some hope. The thing is, in the US, we take basic school supplies and education for granted.  In a place like Kipingi Village an ink pen or even a crayon is considered a major luxury. These kids are human beings too. They want to learn. They want to learn how to speak English, learn how to read, and maybe, just maybe, someday go to University.”  With an ardor that only Michelle can muster, she approached Project Humanity to ask for the green light to get started.  She got her wish and all systems are go!

The only thing stopping her now is funding (isn’t it always).  So this is where we come in.  I encourage you to take a look at Michelle’s website and donate some funds.  Here is an opportunity for a little money to go a really long way. It doesn’t take much, any little bit will help.  Michelle has done the math and all it will take is $15,000 to build this poor community and its children a school.  When you think about it, in the grand scheme of things, that’s really not much.

For those of you that live in the Los Angeles area, Michelle is having an event to help raise money for the project.  Join her at The Green Yogi in Manhattan Beach, CA on January 19th for a 2 hour yoga class and after party.  There will be a raffle, silent auction, food wine and live music.  Did I hear food, wine and live music all for a good cause?  I’m there!

For more information check out: hopeforkipingi.com





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